The Office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is investigating another voter fraud complaint. It alleges that suspicious mail-in ballots, applications, and vote harvesting impacted the results of the March 2018 Democrat Party primary election for a Gregg County commissioner’s seat.
In May, the AG’s office launched the probe after county resident Rev. D.J. Nelson filed a complaint with the Texas Secretary of State. At issue, the Precinct 4 commissioner race between Democrats Shannon Brown, the Easton mayor, and Kasha Williams, a former Longview city councilwoman.
The Longview News-Journal reported that 787 of the primary’s mail-in ballots tallied represented more than 37 percent of the votes cast in this contest. Brown defeated Williams by five votes, 1,047 to 1,042. However, at least 226 of the 787 ballot applications claimed a disability, reflecting almost 29 percent. Furthermore, the applications showed that five people assisted those 226 voters with their primary ballots, raising questions of vote harvesting.
Additionally, an unusually high number of people under the age of 65 claimed a disability as their reason for voting by mail. Only 2.5 percent of absentee voters in the county’s three other precincts combined claimed disability as their reason for requesting a ballot by mail. Previously, state Senator Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) pointed out the statewide average of mail-in ballot applicants who claim a disability is nine percent.
Gregg County extends ballot by mail applications to registered voters if they are 65 or older, disabled, plan to be out of town during an election, or are in jail but eligible to vote.
Subsequently, Williams requested a recount but it only confirmed that Brown won. Then, she sought to challenge the election results in district court. A judge denied the lawsuit.
Last week, Gregg County Elections Administrator Kathryn Nealy told the Longview newspaper the focus of the investigation is “on the applications where voters were assisted.”
On Wednesday, Breitbart Texas spoke to Hughes about this case. He is also the chairman of the Texas Senate Select Committee on Election Security. By email he said, “The AG is finishing up reviewing voter envelopes and other work they can do from Austin.”
Hughes explained the election fraud division has over 70 investigations ongoing and resources are spread thin. He said the Gregg County case “won’t be completed overnight but no one should think it’s being ignored or forgotten.”
The Senator added, “We are in pretty close contact with our county officials, the Secretary of State’s office, and the AG’s office to make sure they have everything they need to thoroughly investigate and, ultimately, to put people in jail if they’re tampering with elections.”
Breitbart Texas has reported on numerous election cycles where mail-in ballot voter fraud complaints led to assistance from or investigations opened by Paxton’s office in counties including Dallas, Hidalgo, Nueces, Starr, and Tarrant. Last year, the state Legislature passed and Governor Greg Abbott signed into law, Senate Bill 5, a mail-in ballot voter fraud deterrent law that stiffened penalties from misdemeanor to felony status for repeat offenders. It also prohibited the use of an electronic signature, requiring signature verification for absentee ballots. Mail-in ballots suspected of fraud must be reported promptly to the state Attorney General.
Still, Hughes underscored, “Voter fraud continues to be such a widespread problem.”
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